LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Hundreds of mourners paid their respects to former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco at a public visitation Friday evening in Cajun country.
Mourners in her beloved home region waited in long lines to say goodbye at St. John the Evangelist Cathedra in Lafayette, the Daily Advertiser reported.
Blanco, the state's only female governor, served one term from 2004 to 2008 and led Louisiana during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She died Sunday from cancer at the age of 76.
"She's a beautiful example of what it is to be a kind and powerful woman in America today, and I think that Louisiana should remember her as such," Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins said.
Luis Mora remembered Blanco helping him start the Latin Music Festival 20 years ago. The chairman of the Asociación Cultural Latino-Acadiana said the festival is still going thanks to her.
"She will be remembered as a great politician, great governor and a great friend of the people," he said.
Elected officials and many former members of her staff were among the hundreds who attended a memorial service in Baton Rouge on Thursday and a public viewing at the Louisiana Capitol.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for Blanco at the cathedral in Lafayette on Saturday. It will be followed by a private burial.